On the evening of January 21, Thomas Jerome Carleton peacefully closed the next to the last chapter of storied life. Born to Adrian and Gertrude Carleton of Palo Alto April 28, 1924, Thomas was the oldest of three siblings: Richard, Jack and Claire. After graduating early from high school, Thomas attended UC Davis before going on to serve his country as a B-17 flight instructor. Following the war he transferred to Kansas State where he pursued a doctorate degree in Veterinary Medicine. It was in Kansas that Tom met the love of his life and soon to be wife Donna Jeanne Schrum. Shortly after graduation in 1951 Tom, Donna and their first of three children, Mary moved to Lodi to open a veterinary practice (Lodi Veterinary Hospital). In subsequent years Patrick and Michael were born.
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So proud of his family, Tom is survived by his wife, three children (and spouses) 15 grandchildren, 11 great grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren.
Tom was active in the county, state and national Veterinary Medical Associations serving as president at one point. As for the community he called home, he wanted to make a difference by serving on the Lodi Unified School Board from 1974 through 1978, on the governing board of the California/Nevada Teen Challenge, starting the Lodi Teen Challenge (a place to help troubled teens) and was a member of the Rotary to name a few.
For his leisure he cherished his time with family and loved sailing, skiing, taking long bicycle rides, reading, gardening and his time basking in the sun.
Tom's daily dose of medicine for a long and happy life and what he always said with a smile, a chuckle and a wink, even hours before he closed his eyes: "I feel great!"
A celebration of life will be held at Westside Assembly Church in Lodi, Saturday, February 1, at 1pm.
Published in Lodi News-Sentinel from Jan. 29 to Feb. 5, 2014